Why I’m Making Banana Peel Water..And You Should, Too

Making banana peel water is a great way to get a dose of potassium for your plants with minimal effort.. This homemade fertilizer supplement is one of the latest gardening hacks I’ve read about and I wanted to try it for myself. It’s touted as an “awesome sauce” by some gardeners, others were less than impressed. Everyone seems to have a different experience or opinion.

Irregardless of how much scientific evidence (or lack) for how well this works…you’ve got nothing to lose by re-purposing such a common throwaway food item. Banana skins are compostable, and this is practically an almost free way to enrich your plants’ health, so why not give it a shot?

The Benefits of Banana Water

Banana water, when steeped right, is rich in potassium, calcium, phosphorus, manganese  and magnesium, all vital nutrients. It can help strengthen roots, make them more disease resistant, and aid in the fruiting process (potassium, symbolized by “K” is the most responsible for blossoming and fruit development) It is not a total substitute for fertilizer  – just like pulverized eggshells can provide a boost of calcium, banana tea offers a boost of potassium.

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits out there, no doubt. One of my favorite snacks is a cup of yogurt with a frozen banana half, which is simple to do, I just peel it before freezing. Then I start collecting the peels to turn them into compost tea for my plants. Here’s how I did it, and you can, too!

How to Make Banana Peel Water for Your Plants

Start with about 2-3 peels. Place them in a jar or container with a snug-fitting lid. Don’t worry about the stringy things on the inside, you can just drop them in or cut them up in pieces about 1″ in length.

Fill it up with water just about at the height of the peels. When I checked on my first batch a week later, the container looked bloated due to the process of fermenting, so I had to pour off some of the water. So be sure to shoot for a 1:2 ratio of water/peels. Now place the container in a cool, dark location away from sunlight.

how to make banana peel water for plants

Periodically, shake the bottle gently. so they get mixed. The peels you may notice all float to the top at first, but as fermentation occurs, they will start to drop. Leave the container in the designated place for about three weeks to let it continue to ferment properly.

I have heard of people putting a little bit of brown sugar into the jar to expedite fermentation, but I don’t think this is necessary. Plus, that extra sugar could attract pests.

Here’s the final result after the three weeks were up….notice that the liquid has become cloudy and the peels have started to darken. Notice that as the mixture settles, it expands. I was worried at first that it was going to stink when I removed the cap. To my surprise, it did not. It shouldn’t if you do it the way I did.

It did “hiss” a little when I removed the cap…that’s a sign of outgassing, and completely normal.

banana peel water

 

It should be all ready for you to use now! You can strain the liquid and remove the peels, since all the “goodies” have been leached out in the process. Now you can just compost the peels.  You can also dilute this mixture as well before use.

Variations

There are people who prefer to boil their banana peels, or dry them prior to grinding them into a powder, under the idea it will extract the nutrients better. They’re more time-consuming and I prefer the method I described above, but I’ll share them here just in case you’d prefer a more “concentrated” product.

Boil the peels on the stovetop for about 35 minutes. Afterward let the mixture cool down before mixing it in your watering can. For the dehydrated approach, you can put the banana skins in the oven at a low temperature for about an hour, or spread them out in the sun, either way will result in them turning dark. Using a food processor, grind them up into a fine powder.

Which plants like banana peel water the most?

Good question. Most do to some extent.

Out of all of them, banana water is great for tomato plants, it could prevent or minimize blossom end rot, it may be too early to tell in my case, but so far I have picked around 6-7 medium-sized tomatoes and a lot of cherries and i haven’t seen any with bottom rot. The day is young, but we shall see.

Others that respond the most favorably, include peppers, okra, some flowering plants like roses and orchids, air plants, and succulents. Even those that don’t, it is entirely safe for them, although if it’s important to you, you may want to check that your bananas are organic first, so contact with pesticides will not be an issue.

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banana peel water

Plants in containers may respond the most favorably, as it is easier to determine the right amount. I dispensed it the other day for my bucket-bound peppers and tomatoes. . If diluted, it can go further.

The Myths About Banana Water

And now, to dispel the myths…Is this banana peel compost tea just all hype…or help? 

Let’s look at that one objectively….

Far as the notion that it is an ideal plant fertilizer substitute…this is a myth. Although this mixture does contain the four major nutrients/macronutrients I mentioned earlier, keep your expectations in check…It is not a panacea for your plants. So you should not rely on it alone as a fertilizer. Plant types that have lower fertilizer needs (houseplants, mainly) may do just fine with this mixture. But most will need a genuine fertilizer with the right balance of nutrients.

Next, about the potassium content being so superb…this is a myth, or debatable at best.. Scientific findings have been dismissive about the level of potassium present in banana peels to make a difference, but there may need to be more research done.

How to Use It

I would give my plants a “dose” once a week. I’ve got another batch in the making I’m waiting on in the pantry to fully brew.If you took the approach of boiling the skins, or created peel powder instead, you should dilute it with warm water as it is more concentrated in this manner. Strive for a 1:5 ratio (peel mixture/water.)

Also, when you sprinkle it on, stay close to the soil line and water at the roots as it has no effects on the foliage, (it will probably make them sticky) and due to the naturally occurring sugar content it may attract gnats or fruit flies.

How long does banana water “keep”?

Your homemade batch of banana water will last on average about two weeks. It should hold up just fine as long as you keep it stored in the fridge. If it starts to deteriorate before then (e.g has a bad smell to it), by all means, pour it out and start fresh!

Have you ever used banana peel water as a homemade plant fertilizer? How did it work for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

 

 

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